June 07, Nairobi: Somali pirates Saturday released 11 crew members, including 3 Sri Lankan nationals on a ship captured nearly four years ago in the Gulf of Aden.
The 11 survivors of the Malaysian-flagged MV Albedo crew were released to officials from the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC) inside Somalia and are now safely back in Kenya, the UNODC said.
The vessel had a crew of 23 from Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Iran and Pakistan when it was hijacked early on November 26, 2010 in the Gulf of Aden, about 900 nautical miles east of Mogadishu, Somalia after leaving Jebel Ali port for Kenya.
The ship sank close to the Somali coast on July 9, 2013 due to mechanical failure and bad weather and five crew members and seven Somali pirates died and 13 others went missing when it sank.
Early on in the hijacking, one crewman was shot dead by the pirates.
The surviving crew had been held on shore by pirates since that time.
The Pakistani crew members were freed after a ransom of US$1.2 million was paid.
The UNODC said the freed crew members from India, Iran, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka will be repatriated to their home countries over the coming days.